PA systems: regulations and standards that you need to know as a planner and installer

Without unnecessary legal talk, straight to the point.

In the planning and installation of PA systems, planners and installers must observe a large number of regulations and standards. These ensure that the systems meet the required safety standards and function effectively in an emergency. In order to give you an overview, in this article we present the most important regulations and standards that you as a planner and installer of PA systems in Germany need to know.

This article focusses on:

DIN VDE 0833-4: Alarm Systems

This standard specifies the requirements for voice alarm systems (VAS). It covers the planning, installation, and operation of PA systems, including speaker placement, cabling, amplifier output power, and controls. It also contains specifications for signal transmission, for example via lines or wirelessly, as well as for alarms in the event of fire and for connection to other safety systems.

→ The wording of the standard can be found here.

DIN EN 60849: Electro-acoustic emergency evacuation systems – a historical standard that has been changed

Until 2017, this standard specified the requirements for indoor voice alarm systems (VAS). It covered the planning, installation, commissioning, maintenance and operation of VAS. The standard established criteria for speech intelligibility, including minimum volume, maximum background noise, and speech distortion. It also contains requirements for the monitoring and control of VAS and the emergency communication systems.

The standard is popular with the "old hands" in the sector,

but was replaced by DIN EN 50849:2017-11,

"EN 50849:2011" in the German version.

DIN 0833-1: Alarm Systems

This standard deals with voice alarms for people inside buildings and defines requirements for the planning, installation and operation of PA systems. It contains guidelines for the design of the speaker arrangement, signal transmission, the power capability of the PA amplifier and the integration of voice alarm systems in other safety installations. The standard ensures that speech intelligibility and alarm efficiency are ensured in an emergency. This standard applies to fire alarm systems together with DIN VDE 0833-2 (VDE 0833-2); for intruder and hold-up alarm systems, it is to be used together with DIN VDE 0833-3 (VDE 0833-3).

→ The wording of the standard can be found here.


DIN EN 54-16:

Voice alarm control panels

This standard is part of the EN 54 series dealing with voice alarm systems (VAS). It specifies requirements for control devices, amplifiers and interfaces in VAS systems. The standard specifies how the PA system should communicate with other safety-relevant systems such as fire alarm systems or building management systems. It ensures that the PA system works properly and functions reliably in an emergency.

→ The wording of the standard can be found here.

DIN 18041: Acoustic quality in rooms

This standard defines requirements for PA systems in rooms open to the public, such as theatres, event halls or conference rooms. It defines criteria for speech intelligibility, noise emissions and sound quality. The standard ensures that the PA system enables clear and intelligible voice transmission and that the sound emissions are limited to an appropriate level to ensure a pleasant listening experience for the audience.

→ The wording of the standard can be found here.

Model Building Ordinance (MBO)

The most important regulation in Germany is the model building ordinance (MBO). It specifies the building code requirements for buildings, including fire safety regulations and evacuation measures. The MBO has been adopted and adapted by the individual federal states in their state building regulations. The respective Federal State Building Regulations stipulate which requirements of PA systems apply in the respective federal states.

→ The wording of the MBO can be found here.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG)

The ArbSchG regulates occupational health and safety and the security of employees. It contains provisions to prevent workplace hazards, including noise protection and electrical safety. When installing and operating PA systems, the regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be observed.

→ The wording of the act can be found here.

Operational Safety Ordinance (BetrSichV)

The BetrSichV contains regulations on the safety of electrical equipment and systems. It specifies requirements for the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of PA systems. In particular, aspects such as electrical safety, protection against electric shock and the testing of electrical systems are regulated here.

→ The wording of the act can be found here.

Would you like to learn more about PA technology? Browse through our MONACOR magazine.

Headergraphik: Adobe Stock /  abasler

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